Oh Stephen, please take the car to Steve Brotherton's shop and get this car diagnosed properly just once.
I know you've been trying to self-educate yourself on diagnosing this problem, but I'm not sure that you're sure of what the problem is.
Who knows, it could be a simple fix. It could be a difficult and expensive fix. But, at least you'll know what it is and could decide for yourself whether to fix it or not.
2001 E430, Bourdeaux Red, Oyster interior.
1973 280SE 4.5, 170,000 miles. 568 Signal Red, Black MB Tex. "The Red Baron".